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Search for reef-safe sunscreen before heading out for your trip.Getty Images/iStockphoto

Game your way to freebies

The Trippzy app, developed by Canadian travel journalists and developers, is a trivia game that rewards users with perks such as free or discounted hotel stays, flights, tours, food or drinks across six Caribbean islands, including Antigua and Barbados. The questions are travel-focused, so at the very least you might learn something about your vacation spot. It’s available for both Android and iOS.

Be sunblock smart

Some ingredients commonly found in sunscreens can damage the ocean’s already fragile ecosystem. Before you head out, shop for ones labelled “reef-safe” – you’ll likely find a better selection in Canada than at your destination – but know that even those aren’t necessarily a perfect choice. The best option: Pack UPF clothing and hats and limit the amount of sunscreen – of any kind – that you need to use.

Learn water safety

News of a recent rogue wave in Hawaii that reached at least 40 feet inland and nearly swept a couple out to sea serves as an important reminder: Everyone in your party should undergo a quick water safety refresher. The main concern is rip currents. Conventional wisdom is to try not to panic or fight the current and instead swim parallel to the shore. Learn more at coastsmart.ca.

Ask about renovations

Resorts are constantly going through renovations – particularly in areas that have been hit by natural disasters. It can’t be helped, but few things ruin paradise such as the sound of jackhammering. Call any hotel your interested in before booking and ask pointed questions. Also, check out TripAdvisor. Yes, reviews aren’t always trustworthy, but countless mentions of renos are a definite red flag.

Avoid (or join) the crowds

According to Expedia’s 2020 Trend Report, the top five sunny destinations experiencing a surge in popularity among Canadians are: Oranjestad, Aruba; Sayulita, Mexico; Gros Islet, St. Lucia; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Rockley, Barbados. Rankings are based on hotel demand, so if you are considering one of those spots, book sooner rather than later.

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